Toddlers don't sit still. That's obvious with our two young boys, their heads and hands a mere blur in too many snapshots. So when I went shopping for a new digital camera, "image stabilization" was high on my list.
No, the camera won't slow down the kids. It merely lessens the jitters in my hands. Those shakes seem especially bad when using a zoom lens, which magnifies what the camera's aimed at and any movement in my hands. It's also an issue when shooting in low-light conditions; the camera's shutter opens longer to capture more light and hence captures more hand jitters, as well.
Zoom lenses help stay close to kids on the move. And I much prefer their look in natural light, which means turning off the flash. Having a camera that steadies things a bit lets me shoot more of those photos while still getting sharp images.
As with most stabilized cameras, the model I chose -- Canon PowerShot SD700IS (the "IS" is for image stabilization) -- uses a gyroscopelike device to sense any movement and adjusts the lens to make up for it. At a price, of course. I paid about $400 for the 6-megapixel camera, perhaps $100 or $150 more than a comparable model without stabilization.
Already, I'm getting fewer blurred photos. That arises partly from the camera's faster electronics and focusing, which for all digital cameras are steady improvements. But it's reassuring to know I'm also getting an improvement in my steadiness.